Sunday, April 1, 2012

Why Today was My Favorite Liturgy of the Palms Ever

Every Sunday afternoon, we have a Holy Eucharist at Oaks Cafe. We really, really don't know what to expect most of the time. Local folks -- especially the kids -- are still deciding what to make of the full-on Sunday worship thing. Today we had a small gathering of neighborhood kids and an adult friend of ours.

We handed blessed palms out and told the kids, "This part of worship today is joyful. So, wave your palms like crazy." And we sang "Hosanna in the Highest" to the beat of a bodhran, and the palm branches flailed around every which way. And -- more than any other time I can remember -- I tasted a fragment of joy that must have existed in Jerusalem when a group of neighborhood kids got caught up into something they weren't sure what to make of and ended up singing and flailing palm branches around as Jesus rode by.

The service turned sickeningly fast, as it does, and the white stoles bled into red as the passion story began. We all just listened and imagined the pain and fear and mockery. And we were silent.

Communion was reverent -- especially for a bunch of unbaptized kids who don't know what to make of what they're encountering yet and can't yet receive. And at the end, there was fellowship over a cup of hearty soup and war stories of April Fools' Days past.

Lord Jesus, give all of us in our little community the grace to know how to walk alongside you during this Holiest of Weeks. Amen.